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December 11, 2014 Updates

In five years working under Flip Saunders and Randy Wittman, Cassell was able to see the Wizards rise from league-wide laughingstock to a legitimate playoff contender. Wall and Beal both credited Cassell for helping them improve. Wall ranks second in the league assists and third in steals and Beal has been slowly recovering from a left wrist injury that kept him out the first nine games. “It was great,” Cassell said of working with Wall and Beal. “I don’t think John had a great playoffs last year. He was solid. He was solid. Like I always tell him, ‘John, you’re the best decoy we can have.’ It’s just not him scoring the ball, it’s all the other intangible things John Wall brings to the basketball court that’s going to make him one of the best guards in this league.” Washington Post

And by the end of the period, thanks to a six-point run by John Wall, a series of defensive stops in the waning moments, and a perfectly executed inbounds play to win the game with 0.8 seconds remaining, the Wizards departed Florida with their second implausible victory in a row. “I think we are doing a great job staying poised and calm down the stretch,” said Bradley Beal, who laid the ball in on Andre Miller’s lob pass to win the game. “It would be a lot better if we could avoid those situations as much as possible, but whenever we are we do a great job not panicking, just running stuff, and getting stops when we need to and just executing down the stretch.” Washington Post

Paul Pierce set the screen on the wing for Beal, who peeled around and darted down the lane with the Magic’s Victor Oladipo a couple steps behind. Beal didn’t see Miller throw the ball. But by the time he prepared to leap, the pass had arced over Dedmon’s arms. Beal got both hands on it and in one motion redirected it through the basket before time expired for a 91-89 victory at Amway Center. “The execution was just perfect,” Coach Randy Wittman said. Washington Post

"I think Kyle O'Quinn has a bright future in this league," Gortat said before his Washington Wizards played the Magic at the Amway Center on Wednesday. "He's just got to continue to work on everything he does, and obviously he can knock down some shots from outside. He's a physical big man who can rebound the ball, but at the end of the day, he has to get inside, play something on the post and try to fight. "Having a guy like Nik Vucevic on the team kind of reminds me of the same situation like I had with Dwight Howard. I just wish him all the best." Orlando Sentinel

December 10, 2014 Updates

Nene participated at the Wizards’ shootaround Wednesday morning. He indicated the knee is sore, but pain in his right foot remains the bigger issue. He said the plan is for him to continue playing the limited role off the bench he did against the Denver Nuggets on Friday and Celtics on Sunday. He logged 18 minutes Friday and 16 minutes Sunday. Washington Post

After the Wizards’ 133-132 double-overtime win over Boston on Monday, Bob Tramonte asked Celtics center Kelly Olynyk what he wanted to do. Olynyk, who scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss, said he wanted pizza from the Italian Store, which has become an Arlington institution since it opened in 1980. The Italian Store was closed by the time the game ended, but that wasn’t a problem, because Tramonte is the store’s owner. His son, Michael, roomed with Olynyk at Gonzaga for a couple of years after being introduced to the former Zags star by his cousin and Olynyk’s college teammate, David Stockton. Tramonte is married to the twin sister of the wife of David’s dad, NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton. Washington Post

Tramonte is more used to seeing D.C. athletes in his store, including Nene, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman. Brother-in-law John Stockton has also stopped by. “I have a pretty good picture of John Stockton taking a pizza out of the oven,” said Tramonte, who met his wife, a Gonzaga alum from Fairbanks, Alaska, while she was working for the governor of Alaska’s office on Capitol Hill. “My kitchen manager is from Sicily and he said: ‘This guy would be good at making pizzas. He’s got big hands.’ ” Washington Post

"John [Wall] was truly amazing. I'm glad that he had a game like that. He kind of backed what I posted on Twitter a few days ago," Gortat said after the game. "He is definitely the top point guard in the league right now. He is playing tremendous basketball. His finishes around the rim are crazy but he is capable of doing that. As a team we just play better every time he is leading the right way" Bullets Forever

December 9, 2014 Updates

Pierce couldn’t help but notice the applause congratulating him for passing Reggie Miller for 16th place on the all-time scoring list. He acknowledged the fans — both Wizards and Celtics supporters — with a wave and urged them to make more noise. “It’s great. I heard the crowd ovation,” said Pierce, who achieved the feat against the team that drafted him in 1998. “I think it’s all great, but I really don’t think it’s going to sink in until I’m done playing. I still have a lot of basketball left to play.” Washington Post

Six-year-old Miyah had lost her battle with cancer, and Wall, who had befriended the girl months earlier, was disconsolate. In a postgame interview, he was unable to hide his grief: Miyah (full name: Damiyah Telemaque-Nelson) was diagnosed in October 2013 with a form of cancer known as Burkitt’s lymphoma. Her relationship with Wall began this past March, after the guard heard about her desire to meet Nicki Minaj. Wall pitched in with the effort, and along the way he and Miyah became pals. Washington Post

December 8, 2014 Updates

There's a bond that remains for members of Boston's 2008 title team. Pierce noted how he, Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis all have a group message set up and text regularly. (Somewhere Ray Allen, and the phone number that he may or may not have changed, weeps.) "It’s just a mutual respect," Pierce said of his embrace with Rondo. Pierce also shared a moment with former teammate Avery Bradley and second-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who arrived after Pierce's departure. "They understand just being with this franchise a long time the things that I’ve been able to accomplish, not only on the court, but off the court, and I think the fans here really value that too. I was saying hi to some of the longtime season-ticket holders and Brad was right there to say hi to him. And Rondo, we talk, we text all the time." ESPN.com

“This place will always have a place in my heart — you know, always,” Pierce said. “Everybody understands when you play for a Boston team and win a championship. No one ever forgets that. It’s like we still celebrate Larry (Bird), Kevin (McHale) and all those guys when they come around here. These are true fans.” As for his remarks from a while back that he’d like to wind up back with the Celtic organization in some capacity, he said, “We’ll see if the opportunity presents itself. Maybe if there is an opportunity, I would love to.” Boston Herald

December 7, 2014 Updates
December 6, 2014 Updates

Pierce got back to town a little earlier and made a video entitled 'Back to Boston' that he posted on The Players Tribune, the website created by Derek Jeter. Pierce is billed as a contributing editor. "Man, I miss Boston," Pierce begins by saying in his ode to the Hub. "I think I'm gonna walk from here," he says as he exits a car and strolls around town. "I love the people here and they love me back... "And that Boston accent? I can't even understand it," Pierce's narration continues. "Fifteen amazing years and one championship. It's like a second home to me, especially the Gahden. I can't wait to play here again. Gonna drop 30 for old time's sake...Maybe Rondo will let me sleep on his couch." CSNNE.com

December 5, 2014 Updates

Paul Pierce will make his only on-court appearance in Boston this season on Sunday afternoon, as the Washington Wizards face off with the Celtics in a matinee affair. Ahead of this visit, Pierce released a new video on The Players Tribune, the website created by Derek Jeter for athletes. The film, in which Pierce is billed as a contributing editor, shows Pierce walking around the streets of Boston, speaking about how much he misses the city. Boston Globe

 

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